ROSELLE—Council President Jamel Holley is locked in an acrimonious Democratic primary battle that will test the social fabric of the borough against Rev. James Moore, whose campaign is advocating traditional moral values.
Moore, who is supported by Mayor Garrett Smith, says New Jersey should not permit same sex couples to marry while Holley strongly supports gay weddings.
The marriage equality issue is an emotional one that has divided allies and united foes.
As an example, Holley engaged in rampant acts of absentee ballot fraud during the 2005 primary campaign in an effort to prevent the nomination of Councilwoman Christine Dansereau.
When state Sen. Raymond Lesniak introduced legislation to legalize gay marriage, Dansereau reconciled with her former adversary because she is a lesbian.
By the time criminal charges were brought against Holley for his attempt to steal the election, Dansereau pleaded for leniency and he was allowed to enter into a pretrial intervention program instead of facing a jury and jail.
Holley worked closely with Lesniak in developing the same sex marriage legislation during the course of his employment as chief of staff to former Assemblyman Neil Cohen.
Some observers question how Holley will fare in the campaign without his mentor, Cohen, who resigned from the Assembly and pleaded guilty to child pornography charges. Holley is also breaking in a new campaign treasurer, since his last one—Rosemary McClave—resigned when she was indicted for stealing money.
The respective stances on moral issues creates a sharp contrast. Moore is adamantly opposed to same sex marriage, on the grounds that as a pastor of Second Baptist Church for 12 years, he believes legally sanctioned homosexual unions would be a threat to traditional values.
Moore is also widely trusted as a leader who has demonstrated his ideals as president of the school board, an unpaid post he held for 11 years as opposed to Holley’s multiple public payroll jobs.
A member of Roselle Clergy Coalition and minister for over 35 years, Moore has a reputation in the community as a devoted husband and father of five accomplished young adults.
Holley ran afoul of the clergy group last year when he led opposition to a resolution presented to the borough council urging state lawmakers not to enact a gay marriage law.
With Councilwoman Samantha Dow, Moore is running on the Column B Democrats for Change slate led by Sheriff candidate Charles Mitchell, another Baptist minister and pastor, who is also a career law enforcement officer.
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!